BUILDFest NYC 2023

Celebrate the transformational power of youth entrepreneurship

Wednesday, May 31

6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

335 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

Student Marketplace - Pitch Competition - Cocktail Reception

About the event

Support BUILD’s transformative program as we develop the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators, and change makers. Get to know BUILD youth entrepreneurs as you shop at the Student Marketplace. Network with New York’s leading business, education, philanthropic, and community leaders. Share the excitement as the top two student teams pitch their businesses, Shark Tank—style before VIP judges. You’ll have a chance to vote for your favorite team. Stay for dessert and conversation after the winners are announced.

Amplify your Impact! Share the Event with Your Network.


Meet our VIP Judges

Dara Sanderson

CEO of Dictionary.com, Marketing and Entertainment Specialist

Learn more about Dara

Dara Sanderson is a seasoned digital media executive with over 20 years of experience in technology, entertainment, media and ad tech. She is the CEO of Dictionary.com, the leading online and mobile English-language educational resource. 


Dara’s broad areas of expertise include cross-platform application and product development; process improvement; interactive and emerging media; digital media strategy and marketing; strategic partnerships and alliances; and team building, leadership, and mentorship.


Prior to Dictionary.com, Dara held the position of Chief Product Officer at theSkimm, after her previous role as Vice President, Platforms at Marvel Entertainment. In her executive career, Dara has also held leadership positions at Digital Remedy, Diamond, and The Walt Disney Company. She has been responsible for leading projects for ABC Family, ABC, Fox, FX, SOAPnet, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Yahoo!, and Nickelodeon.


Dara is a strong supporter of philanthropic organizations and sits on the board of CASA for Essex County of NJ, which provides advocacy for children in the foster care system.

Rema Vasan

 Head of Global Gaming Business Marketing at TikTok

Learn more about Rema

Rema is Head of Global Gaming Business Marketing at TikTok, responsible for innovative marketing solutions that enable the gaming industry to deliver against key business objectives through culturally-relevant storytelling.  Prior to TikTok, Rema led global marketing for some of the biggest and most recognized brands at Pfizer, P&G, J&J, GlaxoSmithKline, Coty, and more. She has lived and worked in Asia, Europe, and North America, championing brilliant creative work and business-driving ideas, capabilities, and innovations.  As an immigrant and woman of color, Rema passionately believes and invests in the power of mentorship to elevate high potential talent. Rema is a proud girl mom, boy mom, dog mom and lives in New Jersey with her family.

David Rose

Serial Entrepreneur, Author, Founder of New York Angeles, and Founder & Executive Chairman of Gust 

Learn more about David

David S. Rose is an Inc. 500 CEO, serial entrepreneur, real estate developer and financial technology investor who has founded or funded over 100 pioneering companies. He has been described by Forbes as "New York's Archangel", by BusinessWeek as a "world conquering entrepreneur", by Crain's New York Business as "the father of angel investing in New York”, and by Red Herring magazine as "patriarch of Silicon Alley". He is the New York Times best-selling author of both Angel Investing: The Gust Guide to Making Money & Having Fun Investing in Startups, and The Startup Checklist: 25 Steps to a Scalable, High-Growth Business.

As an entrepreneurial executive, David is the Founder and CEO of the US Real Estate Market, an innovative capital markets platform for fractionalized institutional investment in commercial real estate. He is also the Founder and Executive Chairman of Gust, which operates the world's largest online platform and community for entrepreneurs and early-stage investors. Gust is used by over a million entrepreneurs in 193 countries to connect with over 85,000 early-stage investors and is the official collaboration and deal flow management platform for over a thousand business angel networks, accelerators and venture capital funds.

David is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of New York Angels; Managing Director of Rose Tech Ventures; a Founding General Partner of True Global Ventures; and Co-Founder of the AREA PropTech venture accelerator. He is Associate Founder and Founding Track Chair for Finance, Entrepreneurship and Economics of Singularity University, the post-graduate program in exponential technologies, and chairs the Venture Capital committee of the Real Estate Board of NY.

David was the initial investor and Chairman of the Board of each of JUMP Bikes, acquired by Uber; Comixology, acquired by Amazon; Pond5, acquired by Accel; and Panjiva, acquired by S&P Global. He serves as a board director of cybersecurity developer KoolSpan and Chairman of Pinktada, applying blockchain technology to the hospitality industry. David is an active early-stage investor in companies including RealtyMogul, DSTLRY, and nextGenHQ.

From his initial involvement with the first online communities in the 1970s, through pioneering the field of real estate technology in the 1980s, developing one of the first wireless data information networks in the 1990s and the first global angel investing platform in the 2000s, creating the first Company as a Service platform in the 2010s and a unique real estate capital market platform in the 2020s, David has continually been at the forefront of innovation in business and financial technology.

Among the fields in which he has been actively involved as an executive, board member or investor are: real estate development and investment, proptech, financial technology, capital markets platforms, wireless communications, consumer electronics, crowdsourcing, international finance, social networking, space tourism, user-generated content, online video, mobile network security, biological testing, electronic music, citizen journalism, out-of-home advertising, fiber-optic networking, concierge medicine, online marketing, interactive voice response, and many others.

David is well known in the business startup community for discovering and mentoring high-potential entrepreneurs, and has been profiled by BusinessWeek as "The Pitch Coach" for his ability to help CEOs perfect their fundraising skills. He is a regular speaker at the TED conferences, and his TEDtalk on How to Pitch a VC has been viewed over a million times. David was been named a Top Writer for five years in a row by Quora, the knowledge-based website where his more than eleven thousand answer to questions about entrepreneurship and investing have garnered him over 100,000 followers. His writings have been featured in Inc. magazine, Huffington Post, Slate, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. David is a frequent lecturer at business schools including Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Cambridge, Stanford, UVA, CUNY, and Stevens, and he was named Mentor of the Year by NYU's Stern School of Business.

Prior to founding AirMedia Corporation in 1988, for which he served as CEO for over ten years, his career included over fifteen years in real estate development, government, teaching and urban planning. David was co-founder and Chairman of The Computer Classroom and Vice President, Development at Rose Associates, Inc. Earlier, he served as Deputy Director of the New York office of US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

A native New Yorker, David has a BA in Urban Affairs from Yale University, an MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School and a D. Eng. (hc) from Stevens Institute of Technology. He is a graduate of PS 6 in the New York City public school system and of Horace Mann High School. He is an Associate Fellow of Pierson College at Yale University, a member of the Entrepreneurship Advisory Boards of Columbia Business School and Yale University, and an advisor to the Alan B. Levan NSU | Broward Center of Innovation. David can be followed online @davidsrose

Bea Arthur

CEO & Founder at The Difference, Editorial Contributor and Host at Forbes Women

Learn more about Bea

Bea Arthur, LMHC is a Columbia University-trained psychotherapist, award-winning entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, and pioneer in the e-therapy space. As the first African-American female founder accepted by Y Combinator, Bea was named an Entrepreneur to Bet On by Newsweek Magazine and one of the 100 Most Inspirational New Yorkers by Bumble. She is the founder and CEO of The Difference, the first on-demand therapy service for in the moment issues and co-host of Tribulations, a live comedy/therapy show with Roy Wood Jr.

Kelly Augustine

Celebrity Stylist, Content Creator, and  Entrepreneur 

Learn more about Kelly

Kelly Augustine is a Fashion and Celebrity Stylist, Content Creator, Media Personality, and Lifestyle Expert. The New York City native is a strong advocate for diversity, and has actively pushed for inclusion within the fashion and lifestyle spaces while using her influence to expand the narrow-mindedness of society’s archaic beauty standards.  

As a Stylist, Kelly’s work has been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, Parents Magazine, Vanity Fair, Forbes, and The Ellen Show.  Her clients have included Danielle Brooks, Gabourey Sidibe, Liesl Tommy, Robyn Lawley, and many more.  

Her colorful personality, trendsetting tendencies, and effortless style have been featured in prominent publications such as Essence Magazine, CRWNmag, Refinery29, Teen Vogue, and The Zoe Report.  Always camera ready, Kelly was recruited for major campaigns including Lane Bryant’s Super Stretch Skinny Jean commercial, Old Navy’s 2021 Inclusion rebrand and NYDJ’s “How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her Body." She was also a judge on the plus size modeling show “Thick House” alongside America’s Next Top Model’s Toccara Jones and Stylist EJ King.

The world is Kelly’s oyster and we’re all waiting to see what new treasures the multifaceted creator has to offer.  An absolute force, she continues to branch out and find new avenues to tackle as she looks to use her platform to create true change.

Lamar K. Cheston

Actor, Writer, Director

Learn more about Lamar

Lamar K. Cheston is a rising star evolving impressively in the industry. From childhood, he broadened his talents from local community performances, to now gracing some of the greatest productions both on stage and primetime television. 

Currently, you can see him recurring on the hit STARZ show, “BMF,” and also guest starring on Season 2 of “The Game” streaming now on Paramount+. HBO’s highly regarded sketch comedy show, “That Damn Michael Che Show,” and Amazon Prime’s, “A League of Their Own.” 

He can also be seen in NBC’s iconic legal cop drama series “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” ALLBLK’s “Terror Lake Drive,” and thoroughly enjoyed his experience working with Forest Whitaker as the character “Lamar Rockwell” (recurring, 2021) in the iconic MGM+ series, "Godfather" of Harlem. Other credits include but are not limited to HULU’S "Wu-Tang: An "American Saga," BET’s American Soul, and the Oscar award-winning film Judas and the Black Messiah. 

His vast stage resume ranges from classical theatre (Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, Comedy of Errors, Henry V, Oedipus) to regional theater (The Music Man, Pipeline, One Night in Miami, Kim’s Convenience). He has also been a long-standing cast member of the NAACP Award-winning play Black Angels Over Tuskegee. 

Lamar uses all forms of art to express his creativity and believes that no matter your passion, always be sure to #mAxximizeyouRpoTential 


Gifty Boakye

Founder of online clothing company, NVTIVE, Director of Philanthropy at Afrofuture, and Ms. Ghana

Learn more about Gifty

Gifty Boakye is a First generation Ghanaian American model and entrepreneur, with a Master’s degree in Global Development & International Relations. At 16 years old, she began her modeling career in New York City walking global runway shows at NYFW, Paris Fashion Week , & Milan Fashion Week and more. She has also been featured in Cosmopolitan, Essence & Allure magazines and is recognized for Global beauty campaigns featured in ULTA, Sephora and MAC stores. 

In 2016,  Gifty launched her first business NVTIVE (shopnvtive.com) a fitness brand that promotes health, wellness, and body, paying homage to international cultures. The same year Gifty reigned as the Face of Afrochella, now Afrofuture and went on to grow with the festival now as Director of Community Outreach + Social Impact. Gifty has been labeled a “Change Maker” by CNN for her Sustainable Work in Ghana, her team has also been featured by Forbes for Social Justice reform recognition.

In 2018 Gifty founded  her non profit Sister S.L.A.Y - Sister's Love And Admire Yourselves, a 501 c3 foundation empowering young girls of color ages 11-18 through self-confidence workshops, SAT prep courses & mentorship programs.

In 2021, Gifty was awarded Model of the year at the Africa’s Women’s Choice Award , then went on to place Top 5 in the Miss Universe- Ghana competition. She was crowned Miss Ghana and represented Ghana at the international level at the Miss Supranational Pageant in Krakow, Poland where she placed as a top 24 finalist and took home the Miss Influencer title . Gifty made history as Ghana's guest placement in an international pageant among 70 women representing countries around the world.

Today, Gifty has earned her masters degree in Global Development & International Relations from St.Johns  University in hopes of working with the Security Council at the United Nations. Her dream is to follow in the great footsteps of Former Secretary General Kofi Annan. She plans to continue pushing boundaries as an African woman changing the narrative for woman that look like her on the continent and around the world.

DJ Whutever is bringing the party to BUILDFest NYC!

DJ Whutever is a Bronx NY native, and former student of BUILD NYC Regional Executive Director, Sybil Wells, who has quickly become a household name. He’s the official DJ for the iHeart Music Festival in Las Vegas, as well as Major League Baseball’s New York Mets, and one of the most sought after DJ‘s for corporate events & parties across the United States.
You can find him hosting his on-air weekly show on  iHeart Radio in New York and Boston, while also spinning at some of the biggest parties and festivals around the globe. He has been seen and heard on Good Morning America, MTV, BET and many other national platforms.
Also an advocate for higher education, DJ Whutever tours campuses nationwide hitting the turntables and doing speaking engagements for students. In 2017, DJ Whutever created the Whutever it Takes Academy, an after school program that teaches students the art of the DJ. The program has been featured on national news, and in its 5th year continues to grow and help children across the United States.

Presenting Sponsor

Launching a movement to change the future of education and opportunity in America

School Sponsor

Bridging Communities Sponsor

Student Business Sponsor

Barton LLP | Citizens Bank | Matt Doherty | Nic Lirette | Nordstrom | VMLY&R | Wachtel Lipton

A Huge Thank You to Our Board Members


Mike Portegello*

Andrea Atwell*

Roger Barton

Courtney Bernabei

Carlton J. Charles

Matt Doherty

John Lee

Alyssa Lim-Sweet

Nicolas Lirette

Ben Mangum
Amy Pan


Scorpio Rogers

Isai Serrano

Bruce Sandys

Naveen Shahani

Katerina Sokolova

Ram Vijayanathan

Alethia Young


Ian Mabie*

Katie Ambrose*

Matthew Barton

Nicole Bach

Michael Cianciotta

Rosie Johnson Conneely

Tomas Dicpinigaitis

Alex Eacker

Jessie Goldman

Camille Gray


Sebastian Hooker

Andrew Jasen

Ethan Kissinger

Arushi Kewalramani

Cristen Koufakis 

Osker Lu

Darnell Marescot

Ajay Menon

Greg Minetti

Steve Mortenson

Ike Oji


Mary Prager

Sami Soma

Michael Stimmel

Claire Storement

Wickel Titalom

Jai Toor

Pete Van Oot

Alvin Wei

Jake Wieseneck

Jason Yen


Bruce Sandys

Michael Springer

Dan Vallimarescu

Natalia Villarman

Renaldo Webb

Michael Wirth

Our School Partners

Amplify your Impact & Share the Event with Your Network




1. iPhone, iPad, Zoom and Loom are all choices of recording tools for their video presentation 
2. Record with both students and their presentation in view
3. Record horizontally for the best view of the students and their presentation
4. Follow Presentation Diagram to the Right


- Make eye contact with the camera
- Notecards may be used as cue cards
•Pro Tip: Notecards should avoid having a full script
- Even when you are not speaking, don’t forget the camera is still recording!
•Be aware of your body language while you and your business partners are speaking
- Everyone has an opportunity to speak
- Professional dress is encouraged
- Practice makes perfect
•Practice how you will transition from each speaker
•Project your voice when you speak​

Follow positioning format Above

Download a Sample of Our Curriculum

Fill out this form to receive a free sample of our curriculum and to receive occasional email updates on how to bring BUILD to your community.